Sine Die

The Twenty-Sixth Alaska State Legislature adjourned their second session early in the morning on Monday, April 19.   A new legislature will convene on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.  The Senate Bipartisan Working Group held a press availability at the end of session.  Both the House and the Senate ran past midnight on the 90th day, for the first time since the 90-day session limit was enacted.

Sen. President Gary Stevens said they have an analysis on the issue from legislative attorneys that says they can go past 90 days.  Legislative attorneys have told them that if anyone sued, the legislature would probably win.  He said.....
they have the right to meet and make the decisions they made, and that there was no intent to go past midnight, but they were simply a little slower than they thought they would be.

Floor sessions in both the House and the Senate came to a screeching, grinding halt late afternoon Sunday when the House failed to pass SB 305, which separates oil and gas production taxes.  The bill was a priority of Sen. Finance Co-chairman Bert Stedman.

Several hours later, the House passed SB 305 on the second try after rescinding the first vote.  The Senate finally went back into session at about 10:30 p.m. and burned through the items on their calendar and senate bills that needed concurrence votes on changes made in the House.

During the press availability, Sen. Stevens said they have talked to Governor Parnell, and think he is comfortable with the merit scholarship provisions added to SB 221.  Sen. Kevin Meyer said they have been working closely with the Governor’s liaison, and SB 221 has the basic merit structure in place.  They will work out funding during the interim.  He said the Governor seemed to be satisfied with that.

Sen. Stedman said for the last several years there have been changes in how the capital budget is assembled.  They have developed an automated system where communities can enter their projects in a database.  Some communities will enter all their projects and others won’t, depending on how technologically oriented they are.  Legislator’s offices have the ability to add projects to the database that communities haven’t added, usually off communities’ priority lists.  Sen. Stedman said communities usually have many more projects than the legislature can fund, so they are asked to rank their requests.

Sen. Stevens said he would look into whether the public could access the capital projects database.

Link to audio of the press availability on Gavel to Gavel: